News Roundup for May 19, 2023

May 19, 2023

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J Street works to promote an open, honest and rigorous conversation about Israel. The opinions reflected in articles posted in the News Roundup do not necessarily reflect J Street’s positions, and their posting does not constitute an endorsement from J Street.

J Street In the News

The Right and Wrong Ways for US Officials to Approach the Fight Against Antisemitism, J Street
Dylan Williams, J Street’s Senior Vice President for Policy and Strategy, shares the dangers of refocusing the fight against antisemitism on what is & isn’t appropriate criticism of Israel, especially at a time of surging rightwing antisemitism.

As Middle East Alliances Are Reshaping, Israel Is Lagging Behind, Ynet News
J Street Israel Executive Director Nadav Tamir writes, “Those who dream of peace with Saudi Arabia need to initiate a meaningful dialogue with the Palestinians. The path to Riyadh goes through Ramallah and requires restoring trust with Washington, which has been undermined not only due to the political upheaval but also because of the lack of diplomatic action and succumbing to more and more right-wing provocations such as ascent to the Temple Mount, de facto annexation steps, and coalition agreements that will lead to de jure annexation.”

Top News and Analysis

Israeli Crowds Chant Racist Slogans, Taunt Palestinians during Jerusalem Day March, PBS
Thousands of Jewish nationalists, some of them chanting “Death to Arabs” and other racist slogans, paraded on Thursday through the main Palestinian thoroughfare of Jerusalem’s Old City, in an annual display that caused new friction between Jews and Palestinians in the tense city.

U.S. Slams ‘Outrageous’ Racism and Violence at Jerusalem Day Flag March, Haaretz
The U.S. State Department condemned what it called “outrageous and unacceptable” violence and racist behavior at the annual Jerusalem Day Flag March on Thursday. “We continue to urge all parties to exercise restraint and to refrain from provocative actions or rhetoric that inflames tensions. This certainly includes racist statements and actions, as well as violence,” the statement said. “We unequivocally condemn racist language of any form. Hateful chants such as ‘Death to Arabs’ are outrageous and unacceptable.”

Hundreds of Palestinians Riot on Gaza Border amid Controversial Jerusalem Flag March, The Times of Israel
Hundreds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip protested along the border with Israel on Thursday afternoon, as tensions were high amid the controversial Jerusalem Day Flag March. A spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces told The Times of Israel that dozens of Palestinians approached the security barrier — built entirely within Israeli territory — and hurled explosive devices. Many others protested some distance away from the fence.

Israelis, Palestinians Clash in Eastern Jerusalem, Eight Arrested, The Jerusalem Post
Eight suspects were arrested by Israel Police early on Friday morning following riots and violent incidents across the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of A-Tur and the Old City, police said. Two suspects were arrested in the Old City of Jerusalem after they, according to police, attacked civilians and Israeli forces with pepper spray before attempting to escape the scene.


Progressive Democrats Slam Biden Administration for Failing to Hold Israel Accountable, Haaretz
Progressive House Democrats on Thursday sharply criticized the Biden administration for failing to hold Israel accountable –both for the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and for ongoing human rights violations against the Palestinians.

Dueling Ministers Said Threatening to Quit Government over Budget Demands, The Times of Israel
Sparring coalition members are threatening to quit the government if their demands are not met in the upcoming budget, in further signs of a deepening coalition crisis, Hebrew media reported Thursday. Kan news reported that Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he will resign from his position if the Haredi parties receive an additional NIS 600 million ($164 million) in the upcoming budget that they have demanded. Smotrich’s office denied he made such a threat.

Israel Advances Law Imposing One-year Jail Term for Public Display of Palestinian Flags, Haaretz
Israel’s parliament is advancing a bill that would ban the public display of flags of a “hostile entity.” The Knesset voted on a preliminary approval of the bill, which now needs to pass three additional votes.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel’s Gaza Ops against Palestinian Terror Never Accomplishes Anything, The Jerusalem Post
Gershon Baskin writes, “What is the bottom line? I have probably said this 100 times – this will never end until we sit down and talk with all of our enemies. There is no military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There may be little chance of genuine peace at this time, but there are many possibilities for bringing us to the path of significant improvement.”

What Israel Can Teach the U.S. About Confronting a Constitutional Crisis, Foreign Policy
Aaron David Miller, former negotiator for the US State Department, argues, “Some of this may seem naive and Panglossian. But the fight for U.S. democracy has always mixed the pragmatic and the aspirational. What has happened in Israel these many months has shown the power that people possess to safeguard their democracy when threatened. It’s not an easy conversation to have. But it’s worth having now because the stakes are so very high, and sadly, the dangers to the United States’ own democratic system are all too real.”